Plymouth City Council has put aside £1 million to offer buy to let investors an incentive to renovate empty properties.
Property owners and buy to let investors can apply to Plymouth City Council for up to £150,000 per property under the Empty Homes programme.
The funding will be made up of grants and interest free loans, aimed at helping owners to renovate empty houses and/or convert empty non-domestic buildings to residential homes for reoccupation.
Up to £50,000 can be applied for per unit, with a maximum of £150,000 a property.
The scheme is designed to regenerate some of the estimated 700 properties, mostly older buildings in the inner city, which have been standing empty in Plymouth for more than six months.
The council has a target of getting at least 375 of these buildings back into use by 2021, according to Thelma Cunningham, housing delivery officer for Plymouth City Council.
She said in a presentation: ‘We have £1million to give to owners of empty properties so they can bring them back into use. They are interest free loans with an element of grant.’
She continued: ‘They can apply for up to £50,000 a unit with a maximum of £150,000 a property. It can be any type of property as long as it needs renovating, to bring it back into a decent standard.
‘It’s as long as the property is occupied at the end of the renovation project, whether that is because it is sold, let or occupied by the owner.’
The number of empty properties in the UK is at its highest for 20 years according to government figures.
Councils across the UK are being encouraged to bring empty buildings back into use.
The Plymouth Empty Homes scheme has an ‘additional incentive’, on top of the loan, of a 10 per cent non-repayable grant, and up to 25 per cent of the financial assistance as grant, where applicants agree to let properties through one of the city’s recognised social lettings schemes, such as HouseLet and EasyLet, or through a registered provider of social housing.